Life has been a whirlwind since my last blog post. As of my post, I was training hard through the winter months with morning sessions on the river in my boat and in the afternoons in my garage gym either lifting weights or riding the stationary bike. It was a productive winter, including setting some personal bests on the rowing machine, which is a mind-blowing given my age and disease.
In early June I traveled to Princeton, New Jersey for the USRowing Paralympic Selection Camp. The goal of this camp was to select the rowers that will represent the US at the 2023 World Rowing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, in early September. After several weeks of hard rowing, I earned a spot in the US PR3 mixed gender double scull event. PR3 is my paralympic category, have a great partner with Gemma Wollenschlaeger, and it’s a sculling boat, meaning
each of us has two oars.
We are currently in Boston, Massachusetts, at the US Paralympic Rowing Training Center. Training has been tough and rewarding, training two to three times a day and we leave for Serbia in just over a week. I’ve been working hard all year for this event and it’s strange to think it’s finally here. Our goal is to win a medal, and we’ll have to row our best given the level of competition from countries like Australia, Brazil, Ukraine, Great Britain, and others.
Managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s while training is a challenge. I try to time my medication to allow me to perform as well as I can during practice. It’s frustrating at times when my symptoms of tremor or dystonia interfere with training. For example, sometimes during longer sessions on the stationary bike, dystonia will kick in and my left calf with painful cramp up. When this happens, I’ll have to stand up and walk around until the cramping stops. Sometimes
I’ll have to do this every five minutes. On those occasions, I tell myself to do the best I can, but it can be hard. Even still, I love rowing and training and I try to focus on the progress I’m making rather than my symptoms. Easier said than done sometimes!
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